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May 2008 - Celebrating Eritrea's 17th Independence Day
 
Congratulations Eritrea
17th Independence Day
 

 

Amsterdam - Asmara - May 14 and 15 2008

 

The arrival at Asmara International Airport is as usual: an entry card to fill in in the plane, a short walk from the plane to the terminal. Check, check, double check of the passport. A currency declaration form has to be filled. A third passport and visa check. And a (sometimes thorough) luggage check for electronics. Efficient, strict, and friendly.

Outside the airport perimeter a row of parked cars, trucks, minibuses and waiting families and friends, some with flowers. There is happiness, kisses and tears of joy, or tears of sorrow for those who come for a funeral.

Five taxi's are waiting for a good deal. 300 Nakfa for a transfer to the hotel. Luwam is at the airport to bring me to her fathers house, a ground +2 Italian style villa build in the early 1930's, not far from Cinema Roma.

May 16 will be the kick of of the one week celebration of Eritrea's 17th Independence Day. So my flight to Asmara on May 14 is well timed to allow for a few days to make my agenda, and find the necessary invitations for the cultural shows in Bahti Meskerem, cultural events at the Cinema Odeon, and the official celebration in Asmara Stadium on May 24.

There is no help for the non experienced visitor, no ticketing counter. As a regular visitor, I have my local network of family, tourism service providers, and of course, some of the ministries and other authorities, for some assistence. But still I have to do a lot of work to make my program for the next three weeks.

I am not paid, or even invited to join the Independence Day festivities, as some Ethiopian sources are suggesting. I am a tourist and a hobbyist, I love the country and its people, and it is commitment to their faith and inspiring e-mail feedback from Eritreans all over the world that fuel the drive to maintain these Eritrean information pages.

Walking in the Expo area, searching for the office of the National Holiday Coordinating Committee, I hear loud music coming from the Expo Hall. It is a rehearsal of a group of students directed by Chinese choreographers and their Eritrean counterparts. One of the many preparations for the upcoming celebrations. I am welcome to watch the girls and boys practice their dances.

 

My temporary residence - Semaetat Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

My temporary residence - Semaetat Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Ministry of Trade and Industry - Semaetat Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Ministry of Trade and Industry - Semaetat Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Nacfa House - Semaetat Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Nacfa House - Semaetat Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Practicing for the show on Bathi Meskeren - Expo Hall Asmara Eritrea.

Practicing for the show on Bahti Meskeren - Expo Hall Asmara Eritrea.

Roof terrace - Banifer Restaurant - Expo grounds Asmara Eritrea.

Roof terrace - Banifer Restaurant - Expo grounds Asmara Eritrea.

Freweyni's coffee ceremony - Asmara Eritrea.

Freweyni's coffee ceremony - Asmara Eritrea.

Yodit and Yerusalem - Asmara Eritrea.

Yodit and Yerusalem - Asmara Eritrea.

Decorating the shop window - Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Decorating the shop window - Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Owner of Wikianos Supermarket - Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Owner of Wikianos Supermarket - Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Banifer Restaurant - Expo grounds Asmara Eritrea.

Banifer Restaurant - Expo grounds Asmara Eritrea.

 
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